Day 2: The Bodyguard, The Kid, and The Baba

Day 2: The Bodyguard, The Kid, and The Baba

Our first full day in Skopje resulted in great food, new friends, and a life long lesson in humanity. I woke up at 2:30 am after going to sleep at midnight and went back to sleep only to awaken at 4:00am with the same feeling, except this time I was wide awake. Jet Lag Tip: Before you leave the country, set your clock to the local time overseas and adjust your sleep schedule to it. –courtesy of Randy Fortunately, when I went down to the lobby I wasn’t the only one. Rabbi Steve was wide awake and writing emails. Since we both couldn’t sleep he decided to accompany me to morning prayers at the mosque I had visited the night before. Too bad the mosque was actually closed (we missed prayer time), so we ended up walking around exploring the streets of the old...

Day 1: Pick Pocketed By Gypsy’s In Skopje

Day 1: Pick Pocketed By Gypsy’s In Skopje

Wow, that trip took forever! Houston to Washington to Vienna to Skopje, I thought it would never end, and I actually felt a little queasy between Vienna and Skopje (more tips on what to do in a flight coming soon). I’ve never flown Austrian Air, and probably would never have if it wasn’t for this trip, but the food was pretty good and the stewardesses were really nice about letting me pray in the back of the plane for however long I needed to. Go Austrian Air! Along the way, I had some wonderful conversations with a Rabbi and Priest. I know it sounds like the beginning of a comical joke, but… no. We talked about the role of the seminary, different ‘callings’ (aka pastoral community assignments), inside jokes, and the differences between some of the...

Annnd I’m Off To The Balkans!

Annnd I’m Off To The Balkans!

“Macedonia? Croatia? What? Why would you go there?” That’s usually the line of questioning I’ve heard from family and friends when I’ve told them about my trip. Countries which aren’t heard about and easily forgotten… sort of like Idaho, the Dakota’s, and Nebraska. I’m traveling these two countries with an interfaith group called TRUTH Houston. There are pastors, activists, Muslims and a rabbi. Just one rabbi, but he’s wonderful and probably does the job of five combined (props to Rabbi Steve Gross). The TRUTH group consists of myself and:  Reverend Steve Quill the founder of TRUTH Dr. Jill Caroll a professor from Rice University and a writer for Houston Belief Pastor Eric Klimpel from Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church Pastor Chris Lake of Tree...

10 Ways To Avoid Feeling Trapped On Your Flight

10 Ways To Avoid Feeling Trapped On Your Flight

My flight from Gatwick to Cairo was by far the worst flight I have ever endured on an international trip. The food was horrible, I was scrunched between two people, who probably should have had two seats of their own; the flight was completely full, it was a budget airline with a lack of legroom, and I was seated next to the wings which made it obnoxiously loud. Since it was a morning flight, I stayed up most of the night before planning to comfortably sleep on the plane despite any inconvenient distractions. On top of all of the above, I wasn’t able to sleep. I seemed to be stuck in a 4th dimension between the world of the conscience and the unconscious, in an extreme drowsy state. Not fun at all. Feeling a combination of two or more factors above can give you...

Day 10: Final Thoughts

Day 10: Final Thoughts

We woke up on time. Salman and I had different departures and I was leaving first. Grabbed some last sips of my Nescafe, and met our taxi driver. Did I mention he was the only honest cabbie in Cairo? I wish I had gotten his information so everyone could call him. The only honest cabbie in Egypt. Find him if you can. This trip was nice. It was eye-opening. I really had a wonderful time in Luxor and Sharm el-Sheikh despite the run ins with the locals. Seeing the historic monuments shook my heart and really humbled me. These people were so powerful and mighty at one time, and now all their ruins lay in crumbles as a reminder for the rest of humanity. For me that reminder is: Never be arrogant and always thank you Creator for everything you recieve. For you that...

Day 8 & 9: The Pyramids of Giza

Day 8 & 9: The Pyramids of Giza

The road from Sharm el-Shaikh to Cairo was long and arduous. Try to fly if you can. At least from Sharm to Cairo. It was just way too long, and the buses and the service aren’t like Turkey. Actually, there is no service on Egyptian buses. When we finally arrived in Cairo, we checked back into the Victoria Hotel where we had originally stayed. It was really late at night and the 8 hour bus ride had killed us, even though we slept most of the way. It was our mission to wake up as early as possible. Our track record in Cairo had thus far been horrible, and waking up like it was a Saturday in Houston was normal. Luckily, we awoke early, jumped in cab and headed towards Giza. Our cabbie, who ended being a terrific guy told us exactly where to go and how much to...